Category Archives: Book Reviews

REVIEW: Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

Ernest Young, “imported” from China as a young boy, becomes the ward/charity of Mrs. Irvine in the Seattle area.  At boarding school, though, he is a pariah and unhappy in his circumstances.  He tells Mrs. Irvine who solves the problem by raffling him off at the Seattle World’s Fair in 1909.  Unbelieveable, really.  And, Mrs. Irvine is aghast at the party who has won Ernest.  He makes his home in a parlor house in Seattle’s red light district.  There he finds acceptance and purpose, to the disbelief of Mrs. Irvine.

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Ernest’s two great friends are Maisie, daughter of the house madam, along with Fahn who was sold to slavery from her family back in Japan.  The story follows the likely path of these three youth from 1909 to 1962.  Love and friendship are strong themes of the book, along with a history lesson of settling Seattle.

Thanks to Ballantine Books for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: The Beloved Christmas Quilt by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter, Richelle Brunstetter

This story has three parts and each part is written by a different generation of the Brunstetter family.  First we meet Luella who is a housekeeper for a father and son who have recently lost the wife of the family.  The wife of the family gave Luella a treasured quilt before the wife died.  That quilt shows up again in the story of Karen, Luella’s daughter.  And, it appears again in the story of Roseanna, the granddaughter.  I did not think the quilt itself was all that important to the story, though it gave a way for the family connection to be reinforced.

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Each story is a love story with some real life challenges tossed in.  One of my favorites was the Nancy Anne side story where Karen’s family must learn how to handle communicating with their deaf daughter.

Thanks to Shiloh Run Press for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Cherished Mercy by Tracie Peterson

Mercy Flanagan, at the tender age of 20, is wise beyond her years and seemingly very capable as a homemaker and teacher. She credits her older sisters, Grace and Hope, with her preparatory years. She is a survivor of the Whitman mission massacre and tender-hearted toward the plight of the various Indian nations in the Northwest territories. A favor to help family friend Eletta Browning with her difficult pregnancy puts Mercy in the Rouge River Valley. Her counterpart, Adam Browning, is a pastor and social worker for the Indian nations. One-quarter Indian, Adam is afraid to reveal that to Mercy lest she regard him with disdain.

Readers of earlier books in the series will recognize the characters in the Rouge River Valley, including 7 year old Faith Browning.

The story reveals the westward expansion greed of the new United States and how its greed negatively impacted relations with the Indian tribes.

Thanks to Bethany House for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: A Place at Our Table by Amy Clipston

Volunteer fireman Jamie Riehl feels that it’s his duty to help protect the Amish community by serving on the fire force. With the untimely death of his mother, though, his duty to protect begins to overtake his life. His widowed father offers sage advice about the fleetingness of life and how we should grab hold of opportunities. Amish waitress Kayla works at her parents’ restaurant and has sworn off relationships after being burned in the past. Could these two belong together or will circumstances push them apart?

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Thanks to Zondervan for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: These Healing Hills by Ann Gabhart

Nurse Francine heads to Kentucky from Cincinnati to join a travelling nurse program in the hills.  She trains to be a nurse midwife and eventually goes out on assignment to one of the hollows and hills of the coverage area.  Paired with another, veteran nurse, Francine comes to enjoy her assignment.  Warned by her coworker and nursing program, though, to be always the nurse and not the friend, Francine is sure how to handle her affection for the people in the community.

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Ben is home to the hills after service in WWII.  He’s at a crossroads in knowing that he might not fit into the hill lifestyle having seen the world.  But, he’s determined to get his widowed mother and rest of the family caught up as he waits to plan his next move.  Perhaps the GI Bill is his ticket to the future.

The book has action and romance, along with insightfulness to the ways of the mountain folks.  Thanks to Revell for providing me with an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett

Ranger Ford Brannon and Naturalist Margie Lane both have a deep love for God’s land. In this novel, they both work at Mt. Rainier National Park.  Ford has taken over as head ranger after the death of his father.  Margie gets her spot primarily due to her father’s role as state senator.  A large donation promise by the senator to the park leads, indirectly, to Margie’s job.  Ford underestimates pampered Margie’s abilities and skills in dealing with the public and handling herself in the wilderness.

The conflict of the story comes from Margie’s ex-fiancé, Philip, who is unrelenting in his pursuit of possessing Margie and blackmail and deceit to her whole family.  Margie has gladly gone to Rainier to get her life back and hide out from Philip.  Unfortunately he pursues her there and promises to develop the park land into a commercial resort.

There’s a lot going on in the story which takes place over the course of a summer season at the park.  As I’ve been able to visit the park, I greatly enjoyed reading about places I’ve seen.  The 1927 setting was interesting as it was a period of excess for some families.

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I look forward to more books in this series.  Plus, what a beautiful, artful cover for the book!

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REVIEW: The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin

Nurse practitioner Mia Robinson had a quick jolt to adulthood when she took on raising her 10 year old sister at her own 20 years of age. Fast forward about 10 years to Lucy’s time to make her own life. Mia wants to make sure that Lucy is making wise decisions; she’s protective with good right. It’s also a time for Mia, though, to get her own God-directed path in line. Into the picture enters Jake with PTSD who is great friends with Lucy’s guy, Sam. Mia wrestles with the missionary plans she has had for years.

I found the story to have more depth than expected and I enjoyed it greatly. Thanks to Bethany House for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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